YOU DECIDED TO PASS UP A PROMOTION. You went back to school − or maybe you dropped out. You moved to (fill in the blank). You married him (or her). You took up hang gliding.
Whatever you’ve done or haven’t done, if you’ve lived any number of years, then you most certainly have been second-guessed, even third-guessed.
But if, rather, you’ve been incessantly questioned and sometimes mocked by people who hardly know you and what you’re all about, then you’ve been Kenny Perry’d.
The namesake of the term, “Kenny Perry’d,” is a professional golfer from Franklin, Ky. Kenny Perry, 47, was in the twilight of his PGA Tour career when he set a goal to make the U.S. Ryder Cup team for the 2008 Ryder Cup matches to be played in his home state of Kentucky. Making the team would mean everything to him, and so he set his sights and schedule accordingly.
Perry probably told his wife and may have mentioned it to his caddie. If he told his kids, they probably forgot it five minutes later. Ranked about 100th in the world and all but forgotten, no one paid any attention to the man.
But then Perry won. The Kentuckian took the Memorial, Jack Nicklaus’ tournament. All of a sudden people noticed Perry, and the media weighed in. What’s this? Kenny Perry isn’t putting himself through a 36-hole qualifier the day after his Memorial win in order to earn a spot in the U.S. Open?
So Perry shared his goal and explained his plan to the golf masses, which only made matters worse. Many rejected his explanation and urged the naive pro to take a different approach.
But Perry trudged on, focusing on his Ryder Cup goal, sticking to his schedule. Two more wins, normally a crowning achievement for a player of Perry’s age, only compounded the problem.
Now the hottest player on the planet, Perry committed the cardinal sin of not entering The Open Championship at Royal Birkdale. Instead, he played, as scheduled, in Milwaukee. No matter how often he repeated his goal and plan, Perry was hit by a tsunami of criticism.
Some said he was just plain foolish. Others said his plan would backfire. By skipping majors, Perry would be less ready for the Ryder Cup matches. Perry would choke like a dog.
Kenny Perry made the U.S. Ryder Cup team and posted a 2-1-1 record. His clutch Sunday singles victory helped his team win the Ryder Cup for the first time in nine years.
Perry’s wife, dad, kids and caddie were there at the end to embrace the 48-year-old golfer as tears streamed down his face. He achieved his goal. His career was complete.
If you have a goal that others don’t understand − or worse − that draws the ire of many, remember Kenny Perry, a humble yet resolute man. He knew what he wanted to do and was able to do it.
−The Armchair Golfer